Harold Hill school’s principal relishing ‘challenge’ of new job

Drapers' Academy principal Darren Luckhurst with pupils

Drapers' Academy principal Darren Luckhurst with pupils - Credit: Archant

Taking charge of a school is a daunting prospect, particularly in these days of heightened scrutiny on education.

But a new headteacher is more than happy to take on the challenge.

Darren Luckhurst became the principal at Drapers’ Academy two-and-a-half weeks ago and he is excited to lead the school into its new chapter.

The 42-year-old said: “It has been absolutely fantastic. The team here are so hardworking.

“I realise the responsibility that falls on my shoulders.

“The buck is going to stop with me, but that isn’t anything I find fearful; that is part of the challenge of the job.”

Mr Luckhurst, who went to school in Enfield, north London, studied biology at the University of Portsmouth.

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But after an opportunity arose to undertake teacher training, he realised he had the “bug for it”.

Mr Luckhurst’s pre-Drapers career was at north London schools.

His last role was deputy headteacher at Haverstock School in Camden, where he taught for five years.

He says he is not someone who comes in and “instantly feels the need to change everything,” but one of his first objectives for Drapers, in Settle Road, Harold Hill, is to improve its GCSE results.

Last year, the percentage of pupils with five A* to C grades, including English and maths, dipped to 46 per cent.

This was despite the students doing “exceptionally well” in maths.

Mr Luckhurst is now tasking the school with increasing its percentage this year.

He said: “I want to be hitting the high 50s or 60pc. That is the target I have set the school.”

Mr Luckhurst, who lives in Hertfordshire, also aims in the long-term to make links with other countries, ensure the school has competitive sports teams and further help families with how they can support their children.

On his passion for his new role, he said: “My friends and family are really proud of me becoming a headteacher and they could see how much it meant. For me it is all about making a difference.”